From the moment we are born, we are taught to seek outwards. To listen externally. To search for answers elsewhere. Copy others. Follow the leader. We end up becoming so out of touch with who we are and what we need that we are easily manipulated by everything and everyone around us. We search desperately for answers in a world that is more confused than we are.
Here are five tips for hanging onto your sanity (and humanity) in trying times.
1/ Follow yourself first.
Social media is a lot of fun and connecting with wonderful people has never been easier. But if you’re not careful you might come to the conclusion that your worth is dependent on how many likes or followers you’ve accumulated. We can falsely believe that other people have their act together and know how the world works. Don’t believe it. Ninety eight percent of the population is stumbling around in the dark. So listen to your own heart rather than the loud voice of a stranger. What do you want and need? It might not be what your favourite celebrity or influencer is flogging. Trust yourself above all else. You are the expert on you.
2/ Turn the world off occasionally.
The noise and images are seriously non-stop. I don’t want to go all conspiracy theory on you but it’s distracting for a reason. You’re easier to market and sell to if you’re anxious and confused. Quiet your mind. Turn away from the colourful chaos. I know there is a special kind of terror involved in being very quiet and still with yourself, but it’s well worth cultivating the habit. When you listen to your own inner voice (not the nasty you’re-not-good-enough one, but the softer, wiser one) you’ll begin to understand what’s right and wrong for you. You’ll make better choices.
3/ You’re perfect just the way you are.
It’s the kind of thing your mum says and even if she didn’t, it’s still true. Consider the vast and mind blowing expanse and intelligence of the universe. There is not one single flaw in our galaxy. Humans love to divide, categorise and judge. We think we know what good is, what beautiful looks like, what success should feel like. It makes navigating this world easier. But most items on your Must Improve/Fix list are an imaginary criteria society has imposed on you. Grow the way you want to grow. Orient yourself to your own light. You really are perfect.
4/ Be kind to yourself. It makes the world a better place.
I can spot someone who dislikes themselves a mile away. Want to know how? They don’t treat other people very well. They might be gorgeous, successful, popular but if they’re mean to others, they don’t like themselves much. The outer world always reflects your inner world. Be your own best friend. Everyone will be better off when you’re kind to you.
5/ Find your people.
A long time ago, a girlfriend talked me into cutting my hair super short, just for the fun of it. I went from long, blonde, straight locks to a very short, spiky, peroxided style. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I was the same person on the inside after all. But something strange happened. The next morning when I went to college, people that I considered friends didn’t want to know me anymore. And other students who had pretty much ignored me until then, suddenly wanted to be friends. I was stunned to realise that a lot of folk really do judge a book by its cover.
Ultimately, my new hair cut ended up revealing my true friends. The ones who didn’t give a damn what I looked like on the outside. (Ironically, the traditionally conservative classical orchestras I was playing with at the time, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra had no problem with my hair. All that mattered was the music. Bless them.) My point is, there are people out there who will love you no matter what. Find those friends. They are your people. And if someone rejects you because of anything external, like your spiky hair, tattoos, piercings, or anything else, count yourself lucky. You’re better off without them in your life.
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,deserve your love and affection.Buddha (or someone equally as wise)